Jacques Derrida (1930-2004) was born to a middle-class Sephardic Jewish family in the Algerian suburb of El-Biar. During World War II, when he was ten years old, he and other Jews were expelled from the public school system. Later, with the arrival of Allied forces, Derrida enrolled in a Jewish school. He moved to France when he was 19 years old and began his studies at the Grandes École preparatory program and studied phenomenology with Emmanuel Levinas. He went on to teach at the École normale supérieure and the École des hautes études in Paris; in addition he held teaching posts at several American universities, including Johns Hopkins, New York University, and the University of California at Irvine. Throughout his career Derrida demonstrated a strong commitment to public education, especially through his work with the Research Group on the Teaching of Philosophy, which advocates making philosophy a fundamental discipline in secondary school curricula. His social and political activism was associated more with particular causes than with party politics and matched by his unparalleled reputation and a critical style that has been often imitated but not reproduced. Derrida’s passing in

Key concepts: ● aporia ● closure ● deconstruction ● il n’y a pas hors-texte (there is nothing

outside the text) ● trace ● différance ● erasure ● trait ● parergon

November 2004 from pancreatic cancer marks a decisive loss for all those who knew him and who were compelled by his work.